Since the last decade, the microbiome has gained in popularity in human medicine among others. This popularity can be explained by the apparition of next generation sequencing technologies which have revolutionized our way to study the microbes inhabiting our body. To this day, several studies have proposed a correlation between the microbiota composition and various states and diseases in humans. However with the high variation between humans, obtaining a correlation which stands and could be reproduced in another study involving the same population of individuals is highly challenging.
During this week’s journal club, we will be discussing a recent article from Pat Schloss lab, “Looking for a signal in the noise: Revisiting obesity and the microbiome.” The authors of this paper have performed a meta-analysis of 10 studies involving the microbiome in obesity to re-assess the hypothesis that changes in the microbiota are occurring in those individuals. This article emphasizes the limitations of associating a phenotype to changes in the microbiome composition as well as demonstrating the lack of power of those studies to detect small differences in alpha diversity metrics.
Please join us September 30th at 3h in MUMC 3N10A to discuss the potential limitations of the microbiome studies involving human subject.